Microsoft Dynamics SL is one of four ERP and accounting software product lines in the Microsoft Dynamics family. SL, which was originally called Solomon IV for Windows, was created by TLB (also known as Solomon Software) and was acquired by Great Plains Software in June of 2000. Great Plans was then acquired by Microsoft in May of 2001.
Of the four Dynamics ERP products, SL is suffering from the most uncertainty. Although it has a strong, loyal user base in North America, there does not seem to be many new feature announcements or development activity. Many of the long-time SL partners are rapidly cross training on GP, NAV, or AX to maintain relevance in Microsoft’s new product strategy. Microsoft has outsourced development and support to a third party which may signal a lack of corporate endorsement.
The product was built in Visual Basic and, with 2007’s Version 7, was completely ported to VB.NET (VB 8.0). Although it has been updated, the core technology is aging and, in fact, some 16-bit code remains in the product’s foundation. The technological architecture also prevents the use of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) which is the Microsoft standard for user tailoring.
SL’s historical strength has been the core accounting modules (general ledger, accounts receivable and accounts payable) and the ability to handle job cost and project accounting.
Dynamics SL is primarily a horizontal accounting software application, however, has adapted the application to accommodate the below vertical markets.
Job cost (job shops) and project accounting (professional services companies);
Time and materials billing entities;
Dynamics SL accounting software strengths include the following:
Easy to use and familiar user interface with intuitive navigation;
Large North American install base;
A strong but aging business partner (VAR) network;
Reliable technology (VB.net and strong use of SQL Server).
Dynamics SL accounting software weaknesses include the following:
Precarious publisher strategy and product longevity;
Aging software technology (some 16 bit code remains);
International localization and internationalization.
Dynamics SL primary competitors include Sage MAS 90 and Epicor. Dynamics SL also competes with other Microsoft Dynamics product lines.
Other competitors include Epicor and Accpac as well as the SaaS accounting software solutions from NetSuite, Intacct and Aplicor.
Microsoft’s global product strategy for its Dynamics accounting software solutions has changed multiple times since the software giant acquired four separate but overlapping accounting systems. Microsoft originally began with a product plan to merge the four accounting software products to a consolidated code base (called project Green) with each product line maintaining its user interface and industry specific specialties. However, the scope, complexity and cost of that project proved daunting, and Microsoft has changed its strategy and commitment to each of the product lines with each missed milestone. Most analysts agree that it will not be cost effective to continue development in all four products and the discussion has turned to which products will survive.
Dynamics SL Software Evaluation
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